Sunday, November 8, 2015

Drawing Near...or not

From James 4:8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.  Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded

This is clearly an admonition for me today.  All the while I was at church this morning, I could not keep my heart, mind and soul focused on worship to the Lord.  I was all over the place.  

I likewise had a restless night of sleep after receiving a letter from my dad yesterday.  I might say, it's the very first ever letter I've received from him.  Initially, I was really excited.  But then I opened it.  He asked me to send the titles to his vehicles, something I've intended to do but haven't been sure just to whom I should send them (remember, he has dementia, lives at the home of an ex-wife, and his brother took over power of attorney) and he included two stamps to cover postage.  I don't want his stamps.  I will return them.  This is the letter he sent:  
I covered names in the letter since I don't use real names here.  It's hard to read his writing - he's semi-literate which I think involved an undiagnosed learning disorder in his youth.  The content is what I am troubled over even though I know that much of it is because he has dementia.  I've had so many "retaliatory" letters composed in my mind since yesterday, but will not write them.  One day, he will kneel before the Lord, and he'll know what's true and what's not, but sadly, he doesn't know the Lord and has no relationship with Him and doesn't know what's true anymore. 

You may be wondering what's so bad about this letter - the history, the conversations and stories since my mom died, the implied accusation(s) based on falsehoods from my estranged brother, but mostly from my dad's own warped, confused memory of events which include complete fabrications.  This letter hurts my heart to the core.  And, it's what isn't there.  There's no father-daughter relationship there.  I don't know that he's capable of such, and yet, for my entire life, I suppose I've yearned for the type of father (and mother) depicted in movies and TV from the era in which I was a child.  You know, the Cleavers, or Ozzie & Harriet, the Waltons, Lassie, all those where parents, while firm, were loving and encouraging.  Zip, nada, never happened and never will.  Which has led me to really ask God, who I believe places us in our respective families, why? what am I suppose to do with this? how is this to bring you glory? how is any of this 'for good'?  I see a family so divided, so unattached to each other, so bitter, so filled with resentment, and I want to do nothing but run from them and be cut off from them.

So all of that to explain my distractions during a time I should have been worshiping and learning.  I fussed about Nick being so annoyed by fragrances (something sickeningly sweet that smells like burnt marshmallows and an 'old man's' cologne) that he got up and sat on a bench outside; watching a young black man with absolutely beautiful dark skin sitting next to his mom(?) of lighter skin with reddish hair-fighting against dozing off and eventually getting up and also leaving; noticing another young man a few pews ahead of him who was either 7' tall or extremely long-waisted as the top of his shoulders was level with the top of the heads of all others - his head stuck out like a sore thumb, attendees who got up later to return-presumably a restroom break and thinking maybe I should go, or maybe it was just that I was freezing that made me feel like I should go too, others who had tablets that flickered every time they caught the overhead lights, the bright glare that came in every time an outer door was opened, and noticing that I really need to trim my toenails - very noticeable as the too-long nails were digging into the toes next to them since I haven't worn solid shoes in awhile, and the guy in front of one in front of him, so why was he moving all over the place? Every time I moved to see the pastor clearly, he'd move so that I couldn't see was only he and his wife in the short pew in front of me.  Marty was thinking he'd done something wrong and I was trying to move away from him :/   There you have it, the story of my distractions.  

It seemed I couldn't draw near if I tried.  I'm sure glad He doesn't give up on me, because I can be a real mess.  This probably wasn't the 'double-mindedness' spoken of in this verse, but I certainly wasn't single-minded this morning.

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